Posts Tagged ‘steamypunk’

Today we welcome Steamypunk author Camryn Rhys.

Camryn Rhys grew up on the border of Canada and the US, and still hasn’t decided which country to call home.  She splits her time between the Alberta and Montana Rocky Mountains, with friends and family in both beautiful locations.  After running her own restaurant for several years and acquiring advanced degrees in writing, foodie romance seemed the only logical option. When she’s not watching the Food Network, she’s reading a romance novel, or if absolutely necessary, working as a consultant. Someone has to put really excellent food on the table.

Blending Erotic Romance & Steampunk

by Camryn Rhys
Blending genres is very careful work, because all genres have their own set of rules. As an author who sets out to blend Steampunk (the philosophical, the mechanical, the aesthetic) with a genre like erotic romance, I had to really analyze what each of these genres brings to the table.

First of all, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken to who don’t understand that “erotic” romance is a genre. Because many stories have “heat levels” and the word “erotic” seems to be part of a heat-level discussion, they assume that erotic romance is just another heat level.

It is not.

True erotic romance is not just “explicit” or “hotter” than “regular” romance. The arc (and art) of erotic romance centers around the nature of a love story. In the same way that “inspirational” and “sweet” are not the same genre, “erotic” and “spicy/sensual” are not the same thing. The nature of an inspirational romance is that there are two parallel plots/conflicts. One is the love story of the characters, and the other is the inspirational element. Often, the two are entwined (but they must at least be concurrent). The same is true of erotic romance.

The genre expectations of erotic romance are different. The sexual stakes will be higher than in a non-erotic romance. Characters may fall into bed sooner (although they may not) and the sex may be more extreme (although it may not). But one thing that is consistent: in erotic romance, sex is the path to love. In fact, sex is often the way characters discover they are in love. Their sexual journey leads (at least) to at least the possibility of commitment, if not the promise of it. (As opposed to erotica, where the sexual journey may or may not end in love—which is also a valid and real and different genre than erotic romance.)

So when you blend erotic romance with another genre, you have to take into account the nuance of what it means that erotic romance is a genre itself. The sexual journey (with whatever level of love you end) must still run parallel to and be intertwined with whatever other elements you’re blending. It’s my opinion that if you’re going to write erotic romance, then the “erotic” part of the journey should always be primary. Otherwise, why tell that erotic story? If the same love story could be achieved between two characters without their sexual journey bringing them to the place, why not write a sweet romance? Or at least a mainstream?

So when you blend erotic romance with another genre, there are expectations readers bring to the book that have to be fulfilled. In the same way, a genre like Steampunk has very specific expectations. Readers don’t want to walk away feeling like they could have taken the goggles off a heroine (or her corset, as the case may be) and they could as easily have had the same story.

In Airship Seduction, my most recent release (a Steampunk erotic paranormal romance—say that five times fast!), the two main characters both have some sexual hang-ups they need to work through. Sacha, because she can read minds, tends not to trust men. I can sympathize with her, because of course she can see all the things they’re thinking and feeling when she’s with them. Her sexual journey revolves around finding a man she can believe is really in love with her.

That necessarily has to happen through sex for her. Otherwise, she couldn’t really trust that he would want to be with her and only her, just the way she is.

Right alongside that journey is the one she and Javier must travel that relates to their steampunk genre. They are part of science’s war on magic. Their Steampunk journey is philosophical (anti-establishment, anti-government) and mechanical (the gadgets used against magical creatures, the gadgets that magic uses to win their war). But it’s also magical. Making all these journeys coincide is not easy. And I’m never sure that I’ve even done it justice. But I am very intentional about trying to bring all the genre elements together to make all audiences feel at home reading my book.

What about you? What do you think about blending genres?

And speaking of blending genres, don’t forget about the (Cowboys &) Corsets & Cocktails release party going on right now, for my Western erotic release, and my Steampunk erotic release. Stop by and you could win an iPad (http://camrynrhys.com/?page_id=762)! Thanks so much for having me at Steampunkapalooza! (And see my book’s acknowledgements…. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Suzanne Lazear…)

-Camryn Rhys

http://camrynrhys.com                                http://facebook.com/camrynrhys           http://twitter.com/camrynrhys

Airship Seduction:

When Victorian Europe declares war on magic, Sacha Camomescro—an Empath demon with an airship—might be the only thing standing between progress and apocalypse.



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Steamy Places

by Nishi Serrano

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream …” Edgar Allan Poe

Places fuel our imagination. When we journey the planet to locations that influence our minds to think of times past or possibilities of the present, it inspires all manner of divineness in our hearts. And for this reason, as a guest writing on the most esteemed ‘Steamed!’ blog, I wish to share a few of these magical sites that have unlocked within me romantic, otherworldly musings. As a suggestion with these fascinating spaces, one would be advised to dress in your very best steampunk attire to fully immerse in the experience.

Afton Villa Gardens:

If you live anywhere in or near Louisiana, I suggest a sojourn to Afton Gardens. Whimsical and mystical, it is one of those eerily beautiful sights left over from the Victorian era. Be warned though, you must go when the days are cool, as it gets quite steamy otherwise.

There are paths lined with sentinels of greek mythology, an expansive and lush labyrinth, and stairs that lead you up airy paths to nowhere in particular except for a view of the magnificent landscape. The ticket price is five dollars to enter, and it is virtually devoid of tourist. If you have a row boat, there is a charming pond on which to cruise. Bring a picnic basket and tea. You will want to stay there forever. www.aftonvilla.com

Rip Van Winkle Gardens:

Since I have mentioned the South, this grand spot is one you can spend the night at, and is not far from Lafayette, LA. They have a quaint café, tales of pirates and sinkholes, and a garden filled with peacocks, ruins, and hidden paths.

Imagine yourself wandering the starlit passages arm in arm with your true love as you search the night for the ghosts of pirates past. www.ripvanwinklegardens.com

Now let us travel to the West, where anything is possible and most likely probable!

Columbia, California:

If, like me, you are a western steampunk at heart, Columbia is a dream come true. I never tire of visiting this originally kept gunslingertown. I once spent two nights and had quite the adventure. Let me give you some advice—no matter how much whiskey you can slam at the saloon, a midnight walk does not mean you can pet a random roving mountain lion just because you think it is a deer!

And if you wander amongst the eldricht shaped rock formations, be on the lookout for bandits (we snuck up on the one in the photo getting ready to rob the stagecoach!)! Don’t forget to visit the schoolhouse and do a snip of ghost hunting in the cemetery behind it. www.columbiacalifornia.com

Mcmenamins Edgefield:

Built as a country poor farm in 1911, the charm of Edgefield and its grounds is not to be missed. Gather a group of your friends and stay at least one night, and bring your parasols and goggles. There’s a shack for fine cigars and a lawn for summer concerts (or croquette!).

Mcmenamin’s is famous for brewing their own spirits, whether it be port, wine, brandy, or beer, the libations flow until you say “Alas, good gents—no more!” www.mcmenamins.com

Wherever you find yourself, there are treasures to be had with but a bit of poking around. Dig, do your research,and then assemble your jolly fellows for a romping good soiree that is only limited to your imagination!

If you would like to read more about my adventures visit my blog at: http://www.nishiserrano.blogspot.com

My steampunk erotica ‘Mile High Airship Club’ can be had August 19th at: http://www.decadentpublishing.com

~Nishi Serrano

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Carina Press week continues here at Steamed!  Don’t forget to comment on each post this week (Tuesday-Friday) for a chance to win a prize pack of all four featured Carina Press Steampunk e-books.  We still have other contests going on including a copy of one of Leanna Hieber’s Strangely Beautiful books , a $10 GC to Amazon or B&N, or another swag and book bag from RT.

Today we welcome Carina Press Steampunk Author Marie Harte.

 Marie Harte has been writing for as long as she can remember. Interest in the written word, no doubt spawned by her English teacher father, continues to this day. She’s a voracious reader, boggling everything from romance to horror to fantasy and more. She’s in love with the art of putting pen to paper…so to speak.  Marie currently has nearly fifty titles with Amber Quill, Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Loose Id, Samhain, Total E-Bound and Whispers Publishing.  Journeyman’s Ride is available now from Carina Press. 

The “Steam” in Steampunk

by Marie Harte

Steampunk is such a great representation for the kind of book I’ve always wanted to write. The rules are vague, the lines confining the genre full of gaps and crumbling mortar. Here, creativity rules.

There are certain tropes when one thinks of steampunk. Goggles, gas lanterns and steam locomotives, for example. Or Victorian ladies running amuck in London trying to avoid dastardly villains, who always seem to have a zeppelin at hand for some nefarious purpose.

The aforementioned are some of the images I envisioned when I heard the word steampunk, and that’s only after I researched the term. I’d heard of cyberpunk, but steampunk? Yet this niche genre is growing, and so are its strictures.

In my story, Journeyman’s Ride, I felt free to create wonderful inventions that shouldn’t exist where steam—and not electricity—is a major source of power. I used a steam locomotive to ground myself in the genre.  But take note: the train crashes early on, and my story is set in the West, a growing trend among alternative novels. I didn’t mind going there, as I’m a sucker for a good Western.

I’m also a huge fan of Norse mythology. And cannibals.  And mechanical monsters. I love the idea of juxtaposing civilization against raw wilderness, where both environments exist yet neither overrides the other. Where else but in fiction can you find a world teased with civility that isn’t overcome (or tainted) by it?

Ideas swirled, and my story became much more than just a romance with a steampunk backdrop. Was it less steampunk and more fantasy? Too much erotic fiction, not enough danger?  Where did I need to draw the line, or did I need to draw one at all?

When is steampunk not so much steampunk? 

When does fantasy or creativity test the boundaries of the genre?  I honestly don’t know, and I don’t think it’s an easy answer. My book has so many descriptions it’s dizzying. It’s erotic, romantic, Western, steampunk, and contains the mythic element of Norse gods.

All this might seem like a lot to throw into a novella, but it’s all just background. The real story centers on two protagonists who need to resolve conflict and grow together. That they do amidst a retro world that glues together several genres into one anachronistic story is half the fun.

This first foray into steampunk has addicted me, and I plan to delve into this world again in the future. More gods, more steam and gaslight tech, and more romance. I don’t claim to be the foremost authority on steampunk as a genre, but I do know romance. A splash of danger, a hero’s journey, and a rich world are nothing without memorable characters.

I’d like to think I—and my Carina contemporaries—have added to the steampunk experience from a romance perspective.  We’ve taken this gaslight/steam world, added a dash of love, and mixed it up to produce adventures that keep a reader turning pages.  Sexy, retro, and romantic. Think of it as even more “steam” in your steampunk.


Journeyman’s Ride now available at Carina Press

What do you think of the intersection of Steampunk and romance?  Anything you’d like to see? 

Grant prize contest is open internationally.  One entry, per person, per blog post during Carina Press week (so, if you comment all four days, you get four entries).  Enter by leaving a comment in the comment box.  Contest ends May 8, 11:59 PM PST.

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